Many of us can’t even imagine what our lives would look like without our phones. Although they’ve only been in wide use for a little over a decade, smartphones have become an integral part of daily life for countless individuals across the globe. Unsurprisingly, virus developers and other cybercriminals are well aware of this fact and have made these devices regular targets. Luckily, protecting your smartphone from the machinations of unsavory characters doesn’t have to be difficult – especially with the following pointers at your disposal.
Promptly Install Patches and Updates
As is the case with PC operating systems and software, patches and updates should be installed on your phone’s O.S. and assorted apps in a timely manner. In many cases, these updates are created for the express purpose of stamping out viruses and patching security vulnerabilities. This means that the longer you wait to install them, the more vulnerable your phone is to certain threats.
So, rather than place updates on the backburner, take care to install them as soon as they become available. While this may require you to place a temporary pause on whatever you’re doing on your phone, this minor inconvenience can save you a considerable amount of stress down the line. To help ensure that you don’t become tempted to postpone update installations, consider setting your phone’s operating system to install them automatically.
Be Wary of Links and Attachments
Since viruses are commonly spread through malicious links and attachments, it’s in your best interest to approach both of these things with caution. For example, whenever a text message, email or social media DM from an unfamiliar party contains links and/or attachments, you’d be wise to avoid clicking on them. Furthermore, even if a message purports to be from a trusted friend, family member or coworker, any links or attachments found therein should be approached with caution. This is particularly true in the case of messages in which something seems off, as it’s possible that you or one of your contacts has been hacked.
Install Dedicated Security Software
Many of us associate computer viruses exclusively with PCs. After all, “computer” is right there in the name. However, it’s important to understand that virtually any Internet-enabled device is susceptible to such threats – and smartphones are no exception. Regardless of how many onboard security components your phone’s operating system boasts, it’s in your best interest to install dedicated cybersecurity software. Dependable mobile app security can play an integral role in shielding your phone from viruses and other threats, so if your phone currently lacks such software, it’s time to correct this. Additionally, for maximum effectiveness, make a point of installing updates and patches for your dedicated security software posthaste.
Use a VPN on Public Networks
While public Wi-Fi networks are certainly convenient, they generally aren’t very secure, and because these networks lack many of the same protections as private ones, they tend to be popular spots for virus spreaders, data thieves and other cybercriminals. As such, it’s recommended that you exercise considerable caution when using public Wi-Fi. Among other things, this entails not entering passwords and other personal information when you’re connected to the web via public networks.
If you simply have no way around using public networks on a consistent basis, make sure your phone is equipped with a good virtual private network (VPN). In essence, a VPN serves as a virtual tunnel that provides a secure, encrypted connection between your phone and the Internet, making it exceedingly difficult for cybercriminals to gain access to your phone or any data found thereon. Furthermore, many virtual private network subscriptions are affordable on any budget and allow users to make payments on a monthly or annual basis. Additionally, while free VPNs are fairly easy to find, paid ones typically offer a higher level of protection.
For a rapidly growing number of us, life without smartphones is an unthinkable prospect. From staying in touch with friends and family members to browsing the web to creating our schedules, smartphones have become devices that we simply can’t live without. That being the case, it’s in your best interest to protect your phone against an ever-expanding assortment of cyberthreats – and provided you heed the advice outlined above, you should have no trouble doing this.